In December, it happened- all of the scrolling through FB pages looking for the “perfect dog” while daily breaking my own heart looking at all those fur balls that need furever homes- I finally saw her.
I knew it from her eyes. No picture of any dog spoke to me like this one did. She had recently been posted for rescue, and I wanted to be first on the list. So late that night, I filled out an application with magnanimous amounts of hope and love brewing within my soul. When I looked at this picture, I knew that I knew this dog even though she was rescued 622 miles away. Then I looked at her number. The last four digits are the same as my SSN. Weird right? Not to me- just a sign of synchronicity to come.
Over the course of the next day, my application was put into the process, but Nina (as they called her) was tagged by a rescue based in the Colorado Springs area with fosters all across the Front Range. Usually, they don’t deal with interested fosters this far North because they don’t have many connections in the area to make transports easier.
Perfect timing was that application was filled out right before Christmas and most people were entrenched in their holiday plans, making transport a bit more complicated. At first, I thought it would only be a few days before she would head my direction, but after further assessment, they realized she is not spayed and had kennel cough. They would be unwilling to do surgery until the cough was cleared up… So, my baby had to sit in quarantine for a few days until she was cleared for surgery. I was told it could be a couple of weeks.
It was fine. I was willing to be patient. Patience comes easy when you are sure it is The One. I wanted to make sure that she was healthy enough to travel and if we had to wait a little longer, then it would be worth it.
Finally last week she was cleared for transport. She would be here Sunday, January 13, 2019.
In the weeks leading up to Nina’s transport, I began a process of talking to her through my psychic centers, just like I use to with Claddagh. I told Nina about my home life, the people in it and my other pet friends. I told her about the expectations I have for a calm house life. I told her about Claddagh and how much she meant to me. I told her, that I would be her last spot. I am her Home.
Every night before falling asleep I would tell the kitteries about our new friend. And, as I drifted to slumber I would send all the healing love energy to this new but suffering companion.
Jump back to 2007, when Claddagh came into my life. I was living with friends in Gilpin, Colorado. Friends who are on a higher wavelength when it comes to spiritual discussions and how spiritual dynamics affect our reality. Friends who, themselves are animal lovers.
During one of the animal discussions, the topic of animal reincarnation was brought up because even at first I was afraid of losing Claddagh. I was already preparing for her death in my psyche. This is when my friend Lindy started talking about animal reincarnation and soul companions in the form of pets.
That we contract with the souls of animals for lessons and companionship in learning those lessons. That once we fell in love with an animal it was imparted with a Soul Personality. Given the duration of life is much shorter for an animal, their Souls are allowed to return in different bodies if the contract is still active.
I always felt like I would be with Claddagh forever and ever, amen. I certainly didn’t feel like our contract was up when I had to say “good-bye.”
In spiritual communities it is talked about that animal reincarnation can take one of three forms. The soul being born into the body; the soul “walking into” a body that is already established in the world, and Soul Braiding.
Soul Braiding is when say a dying animal Soul contracts with another animal soul that is living. They contract to share a body and a personality in order to continue the initial soul contract with the human the first animal Soul was tied to. Essentially the living animal Soul agrees to bind with the dying animal Soul and facilitate a continuation of where things left off.
Far left, right? Totally fucking Woo-woo, right?
I don’t think so.
Due to a scheduling conflict, I was unable to pick up Nina from transport and I had to arrange for someone else to bring her to me. I noticed my dad was working near Fort Collins that day, and I offered a homemade quiche for help in the matter. I asked him because the last time Claddagh disappeared, my dad arrived at the shelter before I did in order to help locate her. He also said to me “Mandie, you need to get another dog.” I figured if he was a strong advocate, then he would be of excellent assistance for uniting me with my newest friend. Plus he really likes dogs, and I think they know that about him.
Finally, around 8:20pm they walk through the door. Nina is apprehensive as all get out. Her tail curled between her back legs, even when sitting down. She was easy under my dad’s control of the thin leash. She wasn’t sure about me. She wasn’t sure of anything except that she was comfortable with my dad. Ha! The man was worried she wouldn’t like him, and now she was thinking that she was supposed to leave with him… Sorry, puppers, you are staying with me.
After my dad left, she wandered around looking for him. Going back to the front door and just standing there giving little whines.
My pupception tells me that Soul Braiding began sometime between November of 2017 when Quantum adopted me, and March 2018 when the kittens were born. I also assume this is when the slow-growing tumor began on Claddagh’s heart. Claddagh being 100% Love, wasn’t going to leave me stranded and alone. And in fact, the cats were the best support in my mourning.
Nina, in my estimation in between 9 months and a 1.5 years old, and seems to me that she is part of the timeline. This is why the process for her to come to me, despite the distance, has perfectly aligned.
The piece of Claddagh’s Soul that is in this Nina, began to wake up on the drive with my dad. She sensed a familiarity that was safe.
After he left, I let her wander around the house and check everything out. Then she snuggled up on the sleeping bag in the garage and I read to her my Letter to my Future Dog. As I did, she stared at me. Giving me direct eye contact, which took Claddagh years to become confident enough to do. And we just stared at each other, me with tears in my eyes catalyzed by the overwhelming love and familiarity that I was feeling.
Shortly after that, she began to unfurl. Her tail still seemingly timid in its expression, was now starting to go outward, instead of under. When before she wasn’t interested in coming to me, now all of a sudden she wanted to be right by my side.
There were some tests. I kept taking her outside, hoping she would go… but it was still overwhelming her. She came back in, and I ran inside to put Gma to bed. When I came back out there was a very fresh and large pile of poop on the concrete floor. Claddagh would never make a mess on the carpet if there was an option, and that wasn’t something that I taught her, just like she would never poop on a trail.
I notice the poop, and Nina notices me notice the poop and she hunches into herself again, acting as if she will get reprehended. Instead, I got excited! It looked like really healthy poop, and I was happy to know that she was able to clear her bowels. I told her good job, cleaned up the mess and put down some enzymes so she knows that isn’t the location for that in the future. She unfurls, even more, it’s confirmed she “Is a Good Girl.” She need not worry about abuse for mistakes or accidents. Her comfort comes out in abounding waves.
We stay up until 4:30 in the morning, playing a sort of “getting to know you.” But do you know what she wants most of all? Just to be cuddled with me. When we finally went to bed, she was right there in the bed with me, like it’s been forever.
Today, she was a completely different animal from when she walked through the door. We went on a car ride, and she is perfect. We went to the feed store and she was perfect. She is observing the other animals and people, and still showing some timidness, but also a sort of excitement… she wants them to like her.
Quantum isn’t impressed with me currently and I think it’s because I relocated her and Capricious downstairs while we figure out introductions and dynamics. I think in a week everything will go into a normal routine and the kitteries can come back up to my room and we can live like the weird little family that we are.
Current things that have happened in the last less than 24 hours that give me confidence in Soul Braiding;
1. When I ask her for a hug, she puts her paws on my knees. When I say full hug, she brings her paws to my shoulders, and we give a full hug.
2. She wants to hold hands while driving.
3. Her favorite spot is right next to me, regardless.
Those three things were a daily component of living with Claddagh for almost eleven years. How is it this timid dog just walked right into that alignment without me asking her to?
The answer is The Soul Knows.
I’d like to introduce my new best friend; Journey.
My dog was already a submissive… she was “put down” in many ways in her early life. I am still disgusted at it all.
But, you know what? I will only talk about it here. I bombarded FB for the first two weeks with my pain… and now in modern decorum I will pretend it doesn’t rip me apart on the inside. Oh, geez, am I following the steps of my forefathers, who chose to sweep inconvenient truths under the proverbial rug?
People don’t know how to mourn, these days. Our fast paced society urges us to “get over it and move on” as quickly as possible. We treat ourselves like processed food with defined expiration dates that serve as suggestions. You might be cool eating an out of date yogurt at your own house, but if a host of some other house offers the same thing, you cringe.
“Keep it in house.”
See, I don’t feel like I am allowed to mourn my dog companion for more than a couple of weeks. It isn’t allowed to break me, because their life expectancy is so much shorter than ours, and I should have known better.
I don’t feel like I can allow Claddagh to be the portal in which my previous pain, loss and suffering is filtered through. I just don’t feel like I have permission to fully feel, even though people say “take your time” and “feel it fully.”
I don’t feel permission because I am always trying to integrate and get along, and no one likes a Debby Downer, or a Miserable Mandie. I don’t feel permission because the extent of the pain is mine, alone to bare.
After day three, I told myself, “You HAVE to stop crying. You HAVE to buck up. No one cares as much as you do about it, and no one wants to hear about it.”
If you make it a mantra, I guess it makes it easier to adhere to, just through repetition.
If left to my own devices, I look out the door and say “All I really want is my dog.” And I imagine what that looks like, only to further upset the state of my heart.
Honestly, I don’t care if I upset you if I end up crying in reminiscence of my dog; but because I am empathetic, and I know you don’t want to hear it, I will self censor. I am not looking for your pity or sympathy…. I know you don’t know exactly what to say and it may be uncomfortable for you, that every topic you excavate leads back to me and my dog.
I am sure it is annoying, or at least uncomfortable.
I’m sorry, but I’m not.
I suppose if you don’t know what to do in the awkwardness, just smile. Know that I experienced a facet of love in life that I would have otherwise avoided, and that in and of itself, is bound to make me a better person in the long run.
I know she wasn’t as interesting to you, as she was meaningful and profound to me, and that is okay… but try not to sweep her memory away in your urgency to bring me back to whatever you feel is your self perceived center. I will take my time, and I require no rush on your end, for it will not bring any benefit.
She was “my girl”, ya know? I don’t even know if I am allowed to use the same distinct whistle if I find a new dog friend… I feel bad for chiding my cats with her same belly rub rhyme. Things are flowing into each other with my other animal friends, where it once was distinct and individual.
And I liked that, ya know? When her whistle was our whistle and not like any of the other whistles that were common for the other animals we mutually knew.
I kinda wish I got a Chilton manual on how to deal with this,or a “When your Dog Dies for Dummies” book, even though I know, internally all I need to know.
Life cycles are beautiful, until you see the shame in loss. My dog should have lived forever… I mean, that is how I feel. I never thought about getting another one, even though at times I thought about re-homing her due to my own personality flaws.
I’m looking at rescue dogs, trying to find a face I recognize. Not Claddaghs’ face, per say… just a face that feels familiar in the rustic part of my being that is perfectly adapted to animal companionship. I know it will happen when it is meant to… if it is meant to.
No worries here. I just miss her so damn much and rightly so.
This piece may seem a bit off topic in my series about Claddagh. However she was with me when the whole situation occurred in my writing. My landlady had found a lost dog, and that dog got along with Claddagh, so I kept it for the night. While the dogs were playing, things got a little rough and I was on the floor between them. The scuffle turned into a fight, so in the process of pulling the dogs apart, the visiting dog bit me. I was hit with a lost childhood memory of being bitten by a puppy while staying with my aunt. Minutes after this memory returned, I received a call from my family saying that said aunt was in the ICU.
I was completely bowled over with emotions. I wasn’t completely sure what her prognosis was, but it sounded pretty bleak. As a coping mechanism, I explored what my family might be going through in that moment, especially focusing on my cousin but at the same time realizing the attributes I didn’t like about her, were/are prevalent in me.
My aunt did not die that night. It would turn into a drawn out process that would take another three uneasy years. The following piece is my raw expression from that night.
July 18, 2009
Skin is thin. A scratch, a paper cut, a scrape. Blood from a small wound, the pain radiates for a day; a reminder of some lame excuse for not paying close enough attention.
I am bleeding from a scratch and a bite. Slightly deeper than superficial. This is payment for being a good Samaritan. I can’t be mad, it was harmless fun gone awry by animals who communicate some other way.
How often in human reality does this happen? We are asked to play nicely, then some words are said in jest causing a friend to unravel enough to fight back. A fight unseen on the horizon.
It was just two beings- doing and then there was an unseen spark. One took something the wrong way and since I am not fluent in dog play language, I find myself in the middle. I’ve pulled larger dogs apart without incident. Why tonight?
As I assess the bite on my forearm and I am taken into an old memory of being bitten by a puppy when I was two or three. I am in the care of my aunt, playing in the front yard of her humble apartment with a small puppy belonging to the neighbor. The bite catches me off guard.
The phone rings.
It is my father telling me that my aunt is in the hospital and things look grim.
The timing of all of this makes me reel. I have to write it all down, the perceptions I am having in this moment thousands of miles away from my family. I’m not sure what is going on, and I know writing will calm me down so that I can process the bite and it’s deeper meaning.
I am jaded on death; the cycle of life few seem to live, all reaching variations of the same end. Those who live their lives like tomorrow will never come because they already know it’s on its way to greet them.
Then there are those aching to leave their mark, they live for posterity. For now I am ambivalent, watching it as it comes and goes; feeling l’ve already lost so many important ones and still there are more to come as I continue to keep loving.
There are no words for this, no way to convey the normality of it, despite the pain and what it seems to be. It is what I call the Death Diet. It comes and goes, as we all do, in it’s own time- staying for short and sometimes long duration. A visitor, unannounced, unwelcome.
As to not forget those I’ve lost; how can the relationship continue, how can each of us live on and keep those who were once here and dear to us, after they depart?
Is Spirit not something that speaks in each ear in due time? Do remnants of the past not live and breathe around us, still?
And so they do; each person, place or thing. Our interaction with them is not at all lost when voices stop humming and hearts stop beating; body buried below. Beyond the picture enveloped in memory…
Perhaps that is the reason I like chicken and dumpling soup. The one thing she would fix for me that was recognizably made from scratch and not from a can. I’ve not seen her in years and tonight she lays under anesthesia in a hospital. She lays in a deep sleep from two heart attacks in a row.
She was found barely breathing by grandparents; those kind and gentle souls who’ve seen one daughter die away already.
Does Leslie sit next to Terri as she lays in medicated limbo?
Does she hold her hand in spirit?
Does Terri ask, in a morphine induced dream, the same thing Leslie asked when she lay deteriorating her own hospital room over two decades ago? The same hospital many renovations ago; a place Leslie never left again, alive.
Is Leslie there, and is she honest? Does she say “No, you aren’t going to make it. I tell you this because I am your sister and I won’t lie to you. I am going to sit here with you until you go… and then I am going to see you to the other side, where all of us are covered in rainbows. I am going to give you the biggest bear hug.” Does Leslie then squeeze Terri’s hand?
Leslie is eternally twenty-six, or maybe she shows up as a seventeen year old; thin and vibrant. Healthy and cancer-free. A spirit in a dream only recognized by the dreamer.
Family waits in the hall. The son acknowledges his distance. A certain sense of discontent and regret boil beneath the surface. He questions her sadness and why she couldn’t do more for herself and him. He knows he distanced himself out of fear and retaliation.
She left him fifteen years ago. She gave up being a responsible mother despite how much she loved him, despite how much he loved her… Something inside of him felt sick with longing and regret, disgust and confusion. He knew this was coming and in some way it was a waiting and a relief at letting this subconscious worry go. Yet he knew, this wouldn’t be the end of his worry, there would be others- the grandparents who sat next to him, for instance.
No. This would be a double edged sword of worry, like, “one down, two to go.” This loss would only breed more anxious anticipation. This thought was neglecting to add the dozen or more people he also adored and maybe even loved. He was focused in this moment on family ties of blood.
In the face of their differences in belief or opinion, he saw and valued whatever it was that this was – “however fucked up.” This was the only place the son was suppose to be right now. There was much to acknowledge and heady thoughts to consider. This was an act all too grown up for anyone to want to take on; he was no stranger to responsibility but this was a first when it came to what many may consider posthumous intimacies- him being an only child of a husband-less mother.
There seemed to be a question of “deserving this.” Was it something he deserved for being less involved with his mother than perhaps he should have been? For keeping busy for more time than it seemed necessary in the mentality that “Life is Short. Love Hard. Visit Your Mom”? He knows he should have visited more. He shouldn’t have been so fearful of seeing her and trying to help her out.
Questions just become answers that lead to more questions.
Here is where he should be. Waiting in an ICU waiting room; thinking about all of this. Taking it all in.
Next to him are his grandparents, now in their eighties. They’ve been less than active for years, left to sit at home with injuries that happened later in life and never healed properly. Here they were, watching their second daughter fade before their eyes. She’d been back home for nearly seven years now. About as long as she’d been gone when one day she decided to abandon her home and her son for some internet love affair.
She had bought a home just a block away from her parents. She was working as a nurse when one day she just quit going to work because the internet was more important and interesting than helping the geriatric folks she was employed to care for at the assisted living home.
One day she got in her car, and drove to the east coast to meet a man that she would come to realize he wasn’t who he said he was, only to leave him for another far off man who was not who he claimed to be.
She left the son in the abandoned house and the utilities were systematically shut off. The mortgage went unpaid and the son was displaced. She left debt and pain in her wake, only to show up back home – ill of health needing a place to stay. She would be fifty-three and living in her parents basement.
I suppose we all have regrets. I wonder if this is hers?
My family is susceptible to addiction but they are also susceptible to will power, drive and sarcasm. I’ve fallen into the categories. Right now my addictions are strong and my will has been weak. This must switch because I have things to do and I suspect my dead mother is sitting with my dying aunt in a hospital room.
I never really got to know my mom but I’ve had my whole life to observe my aunts actions and consequences. At my youngest, when my mother was still around, she was having a hard time dealing with a smart ass two year old daughter. It was too much. My mother would leave me on the door step in only a diaper because “if you don’t want to live here, you are going to leave the way you came in. Naked.” And screaming.
My mother would call my aunt and tell her that she couldn’t handle me, that she had locked me out front. My aunt who lived a couple of blocks away would come to get me and dress me in over sized clothes belonging to her son. She would take me to her apartment to ride out the emotional storm. I would play with my cousin and watch movies until I wanted to go back to my mom.
My aunt would bundle be back up and take me home. This back and forth is part of my earliest memories.
From what I can tell, my aunt had horrible taste in men. Manipulators; liars, drunks and a gay man who was in the military. She chased men that seemed to share her dreams only to leave her in the dust. Her will was weak, she neglected to see these things in advance. She was always waiting to be saved from her own squalor so that she could ACTUALLY LIVE!
She wanted to have it provided for her by someone she cared for and in the meantime she drowned her sorrows in some other reality. A place where she could meet other “real people” feeling the same way she did. Perhaps she didn’t see that they were all reflections of her. Lonely, sick and addicted. Weak-willed and seeking, only bound to find one another.
Lost in a basement on oxygen, typing away. Beauty of youth lost long ago, only to live in a shadow of cyber script. She stopped living a long time ago. She craved the life we all do- To love and be loved.
She adored nature, but she rarely visited it in the end. There were times when I was very young, when she would take us fishing, early in the morning before the sun rise. The thermos would be full of hot coffee, (and though I scowl at parents who allow small children to drink coffee,) she would pour each of us a cup mixed with a hot cocoa packet. A poor man’s mocha at sunrise.
How did a person so close to nature, move so far away from it? How did that sanctuary neglect to hold her interest? Loneliness.
We don’t all wish to be hermits. How sad to age before your time- what a predicament to want love and to be too sick to attain it. Family was never enough.
She was married twice in her youth, but her youth is a bit of a mystery to me. The eldest child, the oldest sister of three other siblings. Did my grandparents have high expectations for her? Did she lack guidance? What was the exact moment that made her give up?
She had her son, young, with a Native man who would disappear from the picture shortly after it was taken. Her next husband would be a closeted homosexual in the military who would tend to be abusive.
Her long time friend Loyd would love her desperately over the year, and their friendship would grow, but it would never be the relationship both of them were longing for.
She smoked cigarettes her entire life, until she couldn’t. They were always the cheap smokes, GCP’s or what ever was affordable.
She loved babies and believed that everyone that she was able to hold, was a little bit hers and that included me.
I guess I never really viewed her as the adventurous type. When she left, she must have really believed things were going to change for the better; but she was already lost in a confusion that misaligned her radar.
As this story unfolds under my finger tips, I unabashedly see the personal similarities in myself, things I would rather not admit to.
Now I am left with a dog bite, reminding me of who I do not want to become.
I’ve sat here for years now, slowly attempting to kill myself for no discernible reason. The deeper I dig the less I know. Over these past years my passions have been purged, and I am left wondering what the point of all of this is, for me, specifically. Once upon a time I was a person who felt a strong purpose for living. I was certain I was something special, though there was nothing outward about me that would elucidate such a theory.
I came to think of myself as one of the dreamers. My hands were never meant to stir the pots, but my dreams were ingredients to a larger stew. I knew I wasn’t the only Dreamer, but at times it felt like I might be. Something like the simulation theory, there was one player, playing many parts in the same game, but the avatars seemed clueless to this fact. I was one of the few who wondered why the others couldn’t see how obvious it all was.
Some people are born into the world a sleepy eyed blank slate. They believe everything they are taught, and they are not taught to question and so they don’t until they are forced to. Once they start to question life starts to fall apart level by level. Red pilled. Life will never be the same. Some refuse the red pill, they can’t face their fear of what is on the other side of the veil.
There are those like me born with one foot on the other side of the veil, and one foot grounded in the simulation. A delicate dance of walking a wire between worlds. It’s hard to explain the spiritual nature of existence to those who deny the spirit even exists. Everyone is born knowing the spirit world exists however the purity in that knowing is often sullied within the first few years of life for a variety of reasons.
It can be a long, hard road getting back to that place of knowing and experiencing the spirit, once one shuts it down or turns it off.
I could never avoid the spiritual realm. It would come to my dreams and in my waking life. At times I felt as if there was a bubble of protection around me, which helped substantiate my theory of some purpose. I figured that purpose would reveal itself as something tangible at some point, however I still feel like I am in a waiting room.
I start to wonder if part of the Dream Job, is to lose all desire for this world. “To be in the World, but not OF the World.” These days that is exactly where I exist. In but not of this World. I anticipate it’s collapse as I write this. The signs are here that something big is on the horizon. The Dreamers have sewn the Dream, and now the Integrator’s are weaving the Dream into the Fabric of Reality. Restitching the pattern as we’ve known it. All we need is enough people to man the Loom. The rest will take care of itself because Spirit is on the side of change. The expiration date grows ever closer.
We must become sick and disgusted before anything will change and that is why it is prophesied that there will be great upheaval. Some will riot against Creation and Spirit. Others will riot against Death and Destruction. The spirit that drives these entities will have no recourse but to clash in a battle to the end. It’s already told as to what side will prevail but that knowing doesn’t stop the course of events as they were written in the Time Template so long ago. There is nothing we can do about the outcome other than pick our sides wisely, there is a point coming where there will no longer be any grey area. No middle ground, fence riding. Simply, Hot or Cold. Life or Death.
Are you familiar with the action of a wrecking ball?
That is Sara Goossen in a nutshell. The lady is powerful, energetic, and ready to knock excuses out of the way. She is a bright and compassionate person who sees the potential in people and then helps individuals harness their inner bad ass. This talent is an imperative staple in her personal business model.
October 1, 2012, Sara opened Fit Body Boot Camp- Cheyenne, with 14 clients. Her goal is to change the lives of 5000 of Cheyenne’s citizens by 2017. As of April 2015, she has trained and cultivated a community of 1200 residents who are interested in adopting a healthy life style. That is an average of 400 people a year, getting active and aware in the fair city of Cheyenne and it’s surrounding areas. No small feat for this 5’3″ wrecking ball.
Sara and I got together to discuss her fitness past and her optimistic fitness future; how she came to start FBBC and some of her own trials and tribulations in the fitness process.
Before I jump into the interview, I would like to state that when you are looking for a gym, and a support system to help you change your habits; having a leader like Sara is imperative because she has run the gamut of unhealthy eating and body weight issues. She has children, she knows struggles and excuses. She has taken initiative on her own, in her own life in order to transcend her past hang ups. In turn Sara has turned hardships into valuable insight for those at any point in their fitness journey.
It may be easier for certain people to take her ethic very seriously because she didn’t start out on this lifestyle right after high school or college before having children; when most women’s bodies are still in that youthful metabolism. She wasn’t always healthy. It was a choice that she had to dedicate herself to; which meant a long road of challenges that led to the changes that are evident in her today.
Let’s find out more, shall we?
WEIGHT: 145.3 lbs
FAVORITE EXERCISE: RUNNING STAIRS, WORKING THE BACK, AND SQUATS
LEAST FAVORITE EXERCISE: BUILDING CLIMBERS
Let’s talk about your fitness past, eating disorders, all that stuff.
It goes so far back, it’s disturbing… so, okay, 10 years old; my mom told me I needed to stop eating granola bars because they were making me fat and at that point in time I had just finished some book, I can’t remember the title of, and it was talking abou this girl who would throw up, because she was so fat. So…I…followed suit.
Thank God for Children’s Literature, right?
Yeah, I was like, “Well, now I am well informed and I can solve this problem.
(Sara reminences with awkward laughter.)
So, at ten years old that started fourteen years of just roller coaster disordered eating; ranging the spectrum of binging and purging to just starving myself. When I got pregnant with my son, when I was sixteen, I kind of just said “Fuck it. It doesn’t matter if I am skinny; it doesn’t matter if I am fat…I am pregnant. I can eat whatever I want and have no guilt.” I gained 50 pounds when I was pregnant with him, and I lost ten. I lost some weight nursing, but after I stopped nursing him, I continued the disordered eating cycle.
Just picked it up where you left off?
Yep, just picked it up right where I left off. And I knew… I was an athlete in high school, I knew about nutrition but it’s not something that I ever listened to because disordered eating was so much easier than learning how to feed myself. At nineteen I married my now ex-husband, (my daughters’ father) and gained all that “happy weight” I maxed out the scale before we got married, at 197 lbs…. so, I looked like a cow in my wedding dress.
Thank god for girdles….
After that we were trying to get pregnant with Emma, and couldn’t get pregnant… couldn’t get pregnant. We tried for two years, and I finally went to the doctor and asked “what is going on?” I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and the doctor told me that I had to make a lifestyle change, or else…. “you’re going to end up with diabetes; you are more apt to have certain types of cancer, you are just going to get fatter, your thyriod is going to peter out…” All the things that go along with PCOS… “This is your future. You either make a change now or enjoy your future where it is headed.”
At that point I sought help because I knew my disorder was no longer a sustainable way to live life. It wasn’t mentally or emotionally healthy.
So I lost about 20 lbs. and we got pregnant with Emma through a series of fertility treatments. When I was pregnant with Emma I only gained about 20 lbs and then I lost it all right away. At that point they (the doctors) said “Well you are probably not going to be able to have any more children, so don’t worry about it.” And I thought, okay, cool; I am just going to go back to doing the whole weight loss thing, because I still had fifty pounds to go.
So I lost another twenty pounds, and then I got pregnant with my daughter Ileena… BOOM! I remember going to my dads house and saying, “Well… I am pregnant again just when I was gettting my ‘sexy’ back.” My grandma looks at me and says “Well honey, maybe that’s the problem.”
Double edged sword on that one…
Yeah! So I got pregnant and did that whole thing and I only gained fifteen pounds with Ailena , and I lost that all right away. November 2009 I found Body For Life, Bill Phillips, transformation.com ; whom I heard about from my step-mom. So I thought, I am going to try this thing. (Everybody thought I was crazy for starting during the holidays.) It was pretty easy; three days of lifting, three days of cardio, all high intensity intervals. By doing that the next three months I was able to loose the rest of the weight. About half way through that three month process I was like “Ya, know, I want to help other people because I can do this as some one who has struggled their whole life with eating well and taking care of themselves … I can help some one else do this.”
I got my personal training certification.
How long did that take you?
It was about four months and about that time I was working for my dad as his administrative assistant amoung other things. I decided that I would try this training thing before and after work, and see what happens. I did that and it just blew up, so in June 2010, I quit my job working for my dad and I started training full time.
I was doing a lot of one on one training and two boot camp sessions at a local gym. I was making money, doing something I love. I worked there for two years and I left because there were some issues that made it neccessary for me to get out of that environment. I decided, I am just going to start my own place; I left and they came after me with for violating my no-compete/ no-solicitation agreement.
Looking back, I was so mad at the time. I was furious, like how could they do this? How can this stand up? Well, it stood up because I had solicited the people who had signed up with me, but were also their clients. I had to take a year off of training and I went back to working for my dad for a year and within that year I knew I needed to do something. I was miserable.
When you are following a life of passion and suddenly it is taken away; it’s like the wind has been knocked out of your sails. You don’t even feel like a human being. I started looking down in Colorado for places I could move to and open up. I was doing all this during the same time I was being sued and working for my dad; I also had gotten a divorce from my kids father. It was everything that could go wrong, did.
I was at an impass; like shit, what do I do?
I looked down in Boulder and I spent about six months driving back and forth, just looking for a location I could open up. I encountered road block after road block.
By this point I had already talked to the CEO of Fit Body, who has been a long time friend. I told them, I want to do this but I have to wait until this year is up or I am screwed.
Was that part of your Non-compete agreement? Did you have a time limit to wait?
Yes, that was the year. One year to the day, October 1, 2012; we opened up with fourteen clients. I was just so excited to be open and be able to do what I love to do. That’s it… the rest is history. Here we are today; looking for another space, a bigger place… sitting down with the bank and talking about bigger loans.
That’s pretty quick, only three years.
Yeah, less than three years actually.
How do you know the CEO of Fit Body?
The fitness industry is so small, it really is. So if you don’t know every one you soon will if you stay in it long enough. I met him doing a master mind. I was in there with the two founders of Fit Body Boot Camp, Steve Hochman and Bedros Keuilian. I was in Steve’s Master Mind and through that I met Bedros. We had several conversations and talked on the phone several times, emailed back and forth; He called me up one day and said ” What’s it going to take to get you to open a Fit Body? And I told him, “You know what it will take, you know what I am up against right now. It’s going to have to take one hell of a deal and some patience and that is where it’s at.” So he said “Alright, let’s make it happen.”
At this point it was going from licensing to a franchise, so they were looking for people and I just happened to be one of those people.
Do you get together with other gym owners?
I do know a lot of the Fit Body owners simply because we get together quarterly; every three months, usually in San Diego or Chino Hills, California. There is a great community with in Fit Body, even from a corporate structure coming all the way down to the clients. It’s nice that we can just continue to pay it forward. It’s pretty cool, and a very unique situation.
Would you like to talk about your competition stuff?
OH YEAH! Sure! I don’t want to bore you to tears with business.
I first competed in August of 2011, I also ran the Denver half marathon in October 2010, and after that I gave myself permission to never run again. (laughter.) I find it really useless and painful. It turns out I am better suited for lifting heavy things than go fast.
Did you do this on your year of sabbatical?
No, it was right before everything blew up in my face. Then I competed in my second figure show August 2013.
Did you win anything?
I did. I placed 5th in the second show, I was pretty excited about that. Granted there were only six figure competitors, so I was 5th, but I was happy to have something to take home, regardless.
My first show I did there were 36 figure competitors, and I think I finished 34th. So I was like, “I think I have improved!”
Were these in Wyoming?
The one in 2011 was in Loveland, Colorado. The Warrior Classic, and the other one was in Wyoming, and that was the Jay Cutler Classic. And that Dude, is a Big Dude. I have a picture of him somewhere.
He was there?
Yeah, he is huge! He is a moose of a man! My head is as big as his shoulder!
He could pick you up in the palm of his hand!
Honestly I am getting the bug again, to compete. I am trying to weigh out the time commitment that it takes, along with my other obligations to see what it will take… if it’s something I can feasibly do right now while keeping everything else balanced. I do love competing .
If you wait to have your own place, you could put on your own competition, in house competition. Then you won’t have to go too far.
That is one of the most fun things about competition; you get to meet so many interesting people from all over the country. People who are busting their asses just to get super lean for just a minute. It literally lasts a day. You deplete enough to have a six pack for a day, and then you gain 20 pounds the next day because you drink water. It’s crazy.
It would be interesting to time lapse a person going through the build up to competition, and then the 24 hours afterward. Once you get the tanner off, and start drinking water again, it’s like what the hell? You blossom like a flower.
You still eat, you carb load the day of to fill out your muscles because you have depleted to the point that you have taken all the glycogen and striped your body of literally everything. It’s not something you want to do often because it is kind of dangerous, BUT, it’s still fun to push your mental ability and physical barriers. That is big for me, because I love the challenge.
Are you a challenge junkie?
I totally am! I love the personal challenge. Competing against other people is fun, but figure prep is anywhere from 2-5 months.
It’s kind of interesting that you have struggled with disordered eating which is in and of itself sort of an addiction, and pushing your body to a limit and challenging it, but not in a very healthy way. And here you have turned your addiction around to a healthier way of expressing it. Yet, there are still these extremes that you go to.
It totally is. What I think helps me with competing and the lifestyle of body building is the structure that it provides. It’s like a security blanket. You take some one with an eating disorder who has struggled with that their entire life, and you say, “you don’t have to struggle, here is some structure. Have a nice day.” It’s like, “okay, this is safe.”
Then the biggest struggle, is will power to be able to keep on the regamine.
Yeah, it’s like any other fitness goals… as long as you have that dead line… the finish line at the end; it makes it that much easier. It’s not like you have to do this for a lifetime or else… It’s here is your dead line, and then you reset the goal. And that is something that is really, really exciting for me.
Through competing I learned to accept my body, where ever it is; whether I am 120 pounds or 145. I am still strong, I am still beautiful and I am still worthy of love and acceptance and success. That is one of those things that I have accidentally learned through the process. It is a by product.
I know a lot of people who compete who struggle with that mindset. Like if they don’t have a six pack they are done for. They are like “Oh My God, My Life Is OVER!”
It basically boils down to bulemia or dysmorphia. It’s all activated on the same brain wave length, same neurological pathway. It’s been nice to find freedom from that as I have gotten older. To not be stressed out about the numbers, to see yourself and be like “You look good!”
IT’s a good example to your kids, too.
I hope so. Sometimes I wonder, “am I ruining these little people?”
Instead of “You’re the reason mommy has a drinking problem,” it’s more like “You are the reason mommy has an exercise problem.”
That’s funny beacause when I took two months off earlier this year, my kids were like “what is wrong with her?” I did not feel like myself. I felt like I was insane most days; like absolutely bat shit crazy.
You needed to be exerting yourself.
Yeah, I needed that rush of endorphins and I think it was something that I had always taken for granted because I have been doing it for so long, it’s just been part of my life for so long. When I completely took it out, I had no idea the impact it would have on me. Not just physically but spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I got to tell you, the week we started working out again, my husband and I; He was like “Gosh you are so much easier to be around.” And I knew he meant that in the sweetest way possible, instead of being a jerk, and I was like “I know, trust me, it’s easier to be in my head.” I went to the doctor and I asked am I schitzophrenic, what is going on here? And she said “I think you are depressed.” And I just needed exercise.
So tell me about your favorite success story to come out of here.
My favorite one, honestly, is from when I very, very first started. He followed me when I opened Fit Body. His name is Austin, he was 16 when he came to me he was 386 lbs. and he was tall and huge. He knew he had a problem. He was home schooled so he didn’t have a lot of interaction with other kids. The reason he was home schooled was because when he was in school, the other kids were just horrible to him because he was so big and kind of awkward and quiet.
He would come, every single day to Boot Camp. At that point in time, they were 1 1/2 hour sessions, he would show up at 6:00 AM, every day. And even if he couldn’t do it, he would struggle through it.
He asked me, “what do I eat? how do I do it?”
His mom was onboard, but I didn’t see her much. Sometimes she would come and walk while he did Boot Camp. Every now and then she would come talk to me, well when I took the year off, Austin started power lifting and he took his focus off the weight loss. Then he came over to Fit Body when I opened, and he brought his mother with him, and they did it together.
It was just so, so, so cool. He ended up losing 110 lbs by the time he was 19. Then they moved to Oregon. He was such a great, great kid. It was just so cool to see how he was able to influence his mom because it’s usually the parents who influence the kids. He was able to influence his mom after two years of going at it by himself.
Was she also over-weight?
Yes, she was, but such a nice, nice gal. I look back on those two, especially Austin and I think “That kid could have made every excuse in the world because teenagers do, adults do. Teenagers learn from what the adults model.” He just was like “I am tired of this. I am tired of being the ‘fat kid’. I don’t mind being a ‘big kid’, I am 6’3″. But I am tired of being the ‘fat kid'”
The last Halloween he was here, he dressed up as The Hulk; and that involved taking off his shirt, and painting himself green, and walking around with out a shirt on. Two years prior to that you would have never seen him do that. It was so cool to see him blossom from this awkward quiet, video gamer (indoor) kid to this little ball of life and energy, and sass.
It was fun to not only see his journey of weight loss but also to see how he grew as a person. To see him evolve into an adult from a kid that just didn’t want to be fat and made fun of.
Do you stay in contact with him?
I do. I stay more into contact with his mom because he is a young adult now and all over the place.
It would be interesting to see if he takes a career in Fitness from this influence. It seems like people who a great at teaching come from a past of being ostersized.
So, we have touched on this, but obviously Fitness has a positive effect on your homelife.
Oh God, yeah! The kids are like “Mom, go work out, you are driving us crazy.” It is also nice though, because my husband and I can share it together. Every morning Monday through Saturday we go work out together, and then go to work and do our thing. It’s been a good bonding experience for us too. Although it did take us three years for him to come and work out with me. The first time we exercised together, he was having a bad day and we were just friends at the time. I was like “he’s having a bad day, just go lift, and he will be fine.” Well a half hour in, he is dry heaving on himself, and I was like ” I thought you were in shape?” Well, after that he didn’t come back to work out with me for three years. And he comes to boot camp, and he makes it through the whole thing, and after that he said “I am going to have to wait until you are ‘deconditioned’ a little before we can work out together.”
He took the oppertunity while I took two months off to “even the playing field.”
Since then it has been nice, in the last couple of months to have that morning time with my husband because we have five kids… we need that time together. It’s nice to have that time and cheer each other on.
What are some of your future goals?
Really my mission is just to help people and it always has been. I am in the business of changing lives and if I am not changing lives, then I am doing something wrong.
YOU RUINED MY LIFE THROUGH EXERCISE!
Ha, ha! Oh man, if some one said that to me, I would have to reevalute everything. I really do just want to leave an impact on this world. And, Cheyenne… God Bless it, and all of it’s citizens; (but Cheyenne) is a FAT city. Overweight, unhealthy; spiritually, mentally and physically. People are over worked and under paid, or over worked and over paid. They have little or no time for their families , no time for themselves; no time to do anything. So we have people spinning their wheels, but for what? At the end of the day if you don’t have your health, you have nothing left. I don’t want to out live my children. I see obese kids around and I want to slap their parents. I don’t want to beat the kids, but I want to slap the parents. It makes me so mad. But then I look at it, and you have to change the lives of the parents before you can change the lives of the children. At the end of the day, it is our job as adults to make those responsible decisions. It isn’t easy, but it is our responsiblity.
It’s in my heart to change the health of this community, if not the entire community of Wyoming, but that’s a long way off down the road. I want to continue to make a difference in peoples health and in their lives.
Thirty minutes of exercise might not seem like much, but it can change how a wife treats her husband. She is in a better mood, she feels better about herself, she feels more attractive… she actually wants to be with her husband instead of saying ” I don’t see what you see, at all.”
It changes how a mother treats her children because she has more energy, she will want to take them to the park, or go hiking and do stuff. Or maybe she is just in a better mood and doesn’t want to paddle their butts just for being little people.
It is just fitness, it is just a work out… but it can change EVERYTHING. I have seen it with myself. I saw it when I started my journey years ago and I still see it today. If I don’t work out, I need to work out because I start feeling ‘cagey’ inside. Anxious.
What has your biggest triumph been in your personal fitness journey?
I think just staying the course. Every day is a new day. I can’t say one event has been a real defining moment in my health and fitness journey. I think it just staying course with the lifestyle. I mean sometimes I fall off, just like anyone. I go on a little cookie diet, when I feel stressed, and then I gain eight pounds and then I have to lose it again. At the end of the day just knowing that I am doing what I need to be doing is just great. But when I am not doing that I can tell a difference. So for me, it’s just committing to the lifestyle.
Is there anything you would want to change?
No. Not really because I believe even the hard stuff is lessons. And I think I am far more grateful now toward some of the hardships that I went through. When you look back at it, it just gives you an oppertunity to learn about yourself; to learn about others and the way the world works. Hardships are often self inflicted. So if anything it’s just learning about who I am and who I want to be and who I do not want to be. It’s just about growing up.
Would you like to give any tips or inspiration?
It’s just about consistency. You have to pick and plan and be consistent. It doesn’t matter what your plan is, as long as it has some good foundation of physical health, mental health and spiritual health. Even if it’s CrossFit or lifting or body building or boot camp; whatever it is, I think it’s just about picking something that works for you and stick with it. I know Boot Camp isn’t for everyone. I wish it was. At the end of the day finding something that works and sticking with it long enough to get results. So many people just go about their life by starting a new program every two weeks, saying “But I am just not getting results.” and I am like “Dude, it’s only been two weeks. Do you know how long it took me to lose 70 pounds?”
How long did it take you?
Beginning to end it took three years. Granted I got pregnant twice in between, but it took me three years to lose that 70 pounds. It’s not going to happen over night.
After spending all this time taking other peoples measurements; when do people, on average see a difference for themselves and accept that change is occurring?
Typically eight weeks, especially for women. I call it an 8 Week Miracle. Literally nothing on the scale can change and inches may not change, but may be your clothes fit differently. For whatever reason the inches may not change, your body fat may not change, and then one day you wake up and somewhere between the bedroom and the bathroom, you realize you lost your ass. It’s like it’s just fallen off somwhere and you hop on the scale and you are down ten pounds from the night before. And you will be like “what the hell? My scale must be broken.”
So you call in a spouse or a loved one and you have them hop on the scale and it says what it always says to them, and you hop back on there and it says the same thing, “you are down 10 lbs.”
You have to trust the process, long enough. Not just “half commit.”
“Oh I am just gonna work out for eight weeks and hope that everything is going to happen. You have to have a plan. Have a plan of attack and exicute it flawlessly. Even if you have one bad day, okay, perfect; get back on the band wagon, but don’t let that one bad day or one bad meal derail you for the next six months.
So I think that is the key. Consistency. You have to be consistent, no matter what. And that goes with anything; if it’s fitness related, or business related, or if you want better relationships. What ever it is, BE CONSISTENT! STICK WITH YOUR PLAN! Things WILL change.
In summery; Knowledge, is the awareness that all action has a reaction, and Wisdom, is using that awareness to your advantage whilst utilizing all available resources.
Fit Body Boot Camp works because of the significant insight that the program lends through collaborative Wisdom and Experience.
Fit Body Boot Camp is calling out more of Cheyenne to get involved in their fitness; and during the month of May we are taking extra efforts to expose residents to the opportunity. If you have been following this blog and you are tempted to try it; COME ON DOWN! Let them know you read this blog and that it has helped you to take the first step in health and wellness; or if you are new to town and looking for a fitness community and this seems up your alley, come take a test drive.
If this article interests you and you would like to read more, check out these related blogs. And as always I appreciate “likes”, comments, suggestions and subscribers; so please feel free to interact. And remember kids, Fitness is great, but Burpees SUCK!
One of the best byproducts of attending Boot Camp, is the people you will meet, and the stories that you will hear in regard to individual fitness journeys. It takes courage to step out of an unhealthy comfort zone and into a whole new arena of health and wellness. It can be an intimidating thought, of jumping around in a class, sweating and jiggling all over the place in front of strangers.
Knowing that each member and leader started somewhere, brings a common bond and a common mission.
The great thing about boot camp is that it is the great equalizer amoungst it’s members. No matter what journey transpired that brought each member through the door, and no matter how long they have attended, it is a challenge to every level of fitness.
There is a good chance that if you contact Fit Body Boot Camp-Cheyenne, that you will talk to the friendly and effervescent Tristin Williams. You will recognize her at the gym by her lusterious red mane, her love of tye dye and her beast mode passion for lifing extraordinarily heavy weights. Tristin isn’t your average admin, and her fitness journey is a testament to her determination.
NAME: Tristin Williams
WEIGHT: 182lbs (starting weight 227lbs)
STARTING & CURRENT MEASUREMENTS:
ARMS– 15.5″ / 12.5″
CHEST– 50″ / 42″
WAIST-47.5″ / 36.5″
THIGH- 27″ / 25.25″
BODY FAT– 47% / 36.5%
FAVORITE EXERCISES– SQUATS (max 250)
DEADLIFTS (max 265)
BENCH PRESS (max 200)
Tristin has a unique story, on how she came to Fit Body Boot Camp, and if you were to superficially judge her, you may think that she is unhealthy. Tristin isn’t tall, standing at only 5 foot; and her body is apple shaped. Often times she can be seen wearing a hoodie, so it is sort of hard to imagine what she is packing under there. She may not have the mainstream media’s ideal body shape, but she has had two beautiful children and can probably dead lift the crap out of your average fitness buff.
I wanted to talk to Tristin and find out her fitness background, and her goals going forward…
May I have the pleasure to introduce you to Tristin Williams, Administrative Assistant at Fit Body Boot camp- Wearer of The TyeDye and Dominator of Heavy Lifting-
Me: So Tristin, tell me about your fitness past.
Tristin: Well my Mom, was a power lifter and a body builder, she held two State Records for years and my Dad was her trainer. So I grew up in the gym, in the daycare (which I despies to this day.) My mom would have power lifting meets, so she was always on the (restrictive) diets, and so they felt bad, and let me eat other things… Because they knew, “what kid wants to eat chicken and broccoli, every night?” So, they would let me eat unhealthy things, like Spaggeti-Ohs. Plus, I am an only child, and I am kind of spoiled. (laughter) Just, putting that out there… So they would ask me, “What do you want?” and I would say “Spaghetti-Ohs.” I LOVED Spaghetti-Ohs.
Tristin went on to explain that the summer between her 4th and 5th grades, she stayed with a cousin. Their collective summer mission was to beat Super Mario 3, which led to a stagnant summer of sitting on the couch, indoors, playing the beloved video game.
Tristin: So we just sat inside, obsessed with the Nintendo and eating chips. All Summer, doing nothing but playing video games.
I have always been “stocky”, I guess you would call it, but that is when I really gained weight. And then it just, kind of got worse.
Me: Oh, that has got to be one of the worst times to gain weight, just as your body is sort of kicking into hormones.
Tristin: So I gained weight, and between 7th and 8th grade, I worked out with my mom and we would go over to what is now Gold’s Gym, and I lost quite a bit of weight, and I maintained that for years. I was a size 9 for years, until I had (my first born) Isaac.
Tristin was able to maintain her weight from 9th grade , despite dropping her work outs; however as she became more social, one thing led to another, and she found herself gaining 60 lbs of pregnancy weight.
Tristin: Chocolate milk, was THE THING during that pregnancy. I was drinking a gallon of it a day. I was in a terribly abusive relationship , so I didn’t have the desire to self love, or to go do anything about the weight that I had gained. I was just misrable for a while; and then I got out of that relationship and just still felt I needed to lose this weight so somebody will find me attractive, ya know?
So for may be a year I lost some weight, I am not sure how much, maybe 15 or 20 lbs. And then (May 2006) I met my husband, and (laughter) we met each other and got married after about three months. And our plan was, to have a year or so to ourselves and then have a baby… well… that didn’t happen. We were married on September 12, 2006, and found out a week later that I was pregnant. (lots of laughter) My family and such thinks we just got married because of that, but it wasn’t.
So then I had Jaylenne, and I only gained 30 lbs with her, but I found out I have Gestational Diabetes, so I really watched what I ate, and cut out all the sugar and all of that. And so I lost most of all that weight, but I was still around 200 lbs at that time. I am only five foot, so 200 lbs is still, uh, not lookin’ pretty good on a five foot person.
The first six years of Jaylennes’ life, I was comfortable in my relationship; Rod loved me the way I was, and I am like “I’m fine.” I was drinking 44oz of Mountain Dew a day.
Me: Complacent comfort?
Tristin: Hmm mmm, yeah, I was eating fried food constantly, you know, fast food and all of that. Which I think my highest was around 230. The day I came and weighed I was at 227 and I couldn’t breathe. That is one of my goals on my sheet, is to be able to breathe. You could hear me breathing, just sitting here.
Me: Did you smoke cigarettes at the time?
Tristin: I did at the time, yeah. I smoked for 17 years. I was a misrable walking piece of human being, is pretty much what I was. I was happy with my marriage but I hated myself.
Tristin was then introduced to Fit Body Boot Camp, Cheyenne, by her friend Kate. Kate proceeded to share pictures of herself over the months that she had been training at FBBC. Tristin couldn’t help but ask what she was doing to get these results. Kate gave the low down on FBBC, and Tristin sat on the information for about a month, hesitant to call the number.
Tristin: I called and talked to (owner/opperator) Sara (Goossen) and asked things like “Are people going to make fun of me?” I thought of all the questions that a person who is over weight will want to know, like “Is it hard?” Then I came in, 11/9/13 and met up with Sara, and I got my measurements and something just clicked. I came in the next Monday, and I quit drinking soda, and probably haven’t been to a McDonalds since.
Me: Tell me about that first day?
Tristin: I came in kind of cocky because I had worked out before with my parents, and because they were body builders and power lifters, I thought I knew what I was doing. It was a leg day, we had some squats and push ups… the next day I was SO SORE for about a week. When Sara tells people in consultation, that some days going to the bathroom will be difficult, brushing your hair will be difficult, she isn’t kidding. It’s not a lie. I have never been so sore before in my entire life; but I pushed through, and I kept coming and I didn’t miss a day for months. My uncle died, and that day I still came to work out. Some people may use those as excuses not to come in, but I didn’t . I thought, that might be okay for you, but for me, I was like, anthing to not come in is an excuse, and I don’t want to make excuses. I just pushed through the hard times. I had three deaths in my family last year, and I pushed through all of them.
Tristin really started to evaluate her path forward after participating in the 12 Week Transformational Challenge, and was deeply inspired by Trainer Ashley Richards.
Tristin: I really wanted to pay it forward, and become a trainer. I am not a trainer, yet, but when the Admin job became open, it was perfect because I had worked as an Administrative Assistant for years. It was scary, I went from a full time job to part time. I took the risk, but I knew I was going to be helping people, and pay it forward, and eventually I will get my training certificate.
I am content where I am at right now.
My passion is powerlifting. I love to lift heavy shit! My mom is my hero, and inspiration for that. She is tiny, she is about five foot, and when she set her record she was 118 lbs.; her dead lifting record is 300. I do want to compete at least once. I love to max out, I love to see where I am at and how I am performing.
Me: Has this been benefical to your relationship?
Tristin: Oh yeah, my husband has been doing it with me since May or June 2014 and he has lost 35 lbs. I feel better about myself, he has always been great about telling me I am beautiful and that he loves me, but I love myself now, and when he says something like that, I can, more than half way believe it. Now I could see how he could say it, where as before… Yeah, it has been really good for our relationship.
Tristin takes a moment to attest to the words on one of the gym’s T-shirts which says “Fit Sex is Better than Fat Sex.” “It’s true!” She says pointing at where the shirts hang. “I can attest first hand to this.”
I ask what her biggest struggle is, and like most people who have made huge dietary changes in tandem with reaching their physical goals, she says “food.”
Tristin: I love me some chocolate! I thought it was going to be the soda, because I was drinking at least one huge 44oz of soda a day. At LEAST, one… I don’t miss soda. I don’t eat fast food anymore, except Subway, because I can control what goes on it. No burger joints, no fried foods. I gave away my fryer; I was frying chicken at least once a week; deep fried shrimp and fries. I kept the fryer for a while because my family was not on board with the healthy eating and one day I just decided to throw out the oil and give it away.
Me: What do you think your greatest advancements have been?
Tristin: Mentally, I would say it’s that I love myself now. Am I totally where I want to be? No, but I am over halfway to the goal of where I want to be. I don’t really focus on the scale because it really hasn’t moved much since September, but my pants sizes have gone down. I was in a 22 to 24 (size) pant and I am wearing an 11 now.
Me: Are you still smoking?
Tristin: My last cigarrette was June 8th last year, and then I started vaping. My thought process is that at a year, which will be this June 8th, I can slowly start giving up the vape. I am proud of myself because every other time I have tried to give up cigarettes, I couldn’t. I know it’s terrible. And I know that the vaping may not be much better, but I smoked for 17 years, and now I feel better. It’s definitely not 100 times better, but it is better than a cigarette. And I have these girls here to keep on me, and tell me to get off of it and I love them for it. I have had people on me (in my family) about it (smoking) for years. And one day I just decided I was sick of it. I hated the smell. But I am a firm believer that I had to decide that for myself. No one could make me do it.
Great advice, from a woman who has had some pretty deep lows and heavy burdens in her life.
You see, Fit Body Boot Camp is such a great enviroment because it works not only as a support system, but also like a family. Every one realizes that by coming to the table, they each bring their short comings; but they also bring their strengths. And those strengths are used to build each other up, not tear each other down.
Tristin, came to FBBC scared that she would be rediculed and shunned for her short comings and the past of mistreating herself and her body; instead she was welcomed with open arms, and she wouldn’t be the woman she is today, with out it.
Fit Body Boot Camp is so inspiring to it’s members, that it isn’t strange that they would be catalyzed to pay it forward and to assist others in feeling better; because feeling better has a holistic impact on a human. Imagine the state of paralysis an individual feels when they hate their body, and feel shameful about being in public. All of that mental/ emotional energy being consumed by fear.
However, erase that fear?
Allieviate the problem and the body, mind and soul get their energy back to focus on the bigger picture; the example we set for our children and their future impact on the world.
If you would like to make a change, a shift, or a transformation in your life, and you are ready to take a risk for the sake of your health, give Tristin Williams a call at (307)421-7387 or check out their FaceBook Page Here, or their website at http://www.fitbodybootcamp.com/cheyennefitnessbootcamp/. Help yourself by helping us reach our goal of impacting the lives of (at least) 5000 Cheyenne Residents with health and physical fitness.
I know all the “new age philosophies;” I have even shared them. But no matter how much you think you know; can prepare you for unavoidable sadness.
“Oh Crikey, Madge! Just turn that frown upside down! It’s all perspective! Change your view, and You change YOU!”
Fuck you. Fuck you all and your optimism directly directed at a situation you have NO clue about. Fuck you for telling me that I shouldn’t hate it… or maybe I should work on myself before I try to work on others; or maybe even “everything seems worse when you are in it.”
I am well aware of this temporary situation. And I hate it. I hate that it adds so much pain to my already bucket full of painful life experience.
My life has been an ongoing struggle of appeasing my child self with my adult self. Imagine having that issue of a brain malady that makes you forget on a daily basis; what happened yesterday. And then having to daily settle yourself with an abrupt realization, day in, and day out. Yeah like that Sandler/Barrymore movie.
Only instead, the story is of a broken grandchild, whose best child hood days happened at Gram and Gramps, thirty years ago; and Gramps is gone and Grams is loosing her beans.
I walk away from all kinds of stuff; but I can’t walk away from this.
My Gram WANTS ME, NEEDS ME, RECOGNIZES ME, asks about ME and my welfare.
She has lost so much in the last three years, and her mind is starting to go; but me, despite my lackluster attitude, IS there. And I don’t want to leave someone who is losing their mind and seeks me out (despite all my flaws); I don’t want to erase yet another one of her external hard drives of relation and information.
It feels like she literally survives off the recognition of what she shares with those she has most relation with.
When I was younger, and in my more, “immortal potential” mindset; I wished and hoped my grandma would make it to the point we could de-age her, and then she could be my best friend forever. Now she wonders on a daily basis if I hate her.
I don’t hate her. I love her so much, that I hate everything about her life at the present point in time.
I hate that my uncle and I are the only ones who see her daily. I hate that no one else seems to care, because they have “their own life.” I hate how other family members can pick and choose what to do in their life, because it matters to them; and they say she matters but they never make the time, soa visit here is never on the list of “things to do,” unless things look grim.
I hate that I feel so alone in all this. I hate that I don’t have a partner or a best friends to occassionally laugh with and let sleeping dogs lie when the hour gets late enough.
I hate that I am doing this partly so my uncle can still enjoy his life, because I think he deserves that, and this job is really big, and he spent so much time with my grandpa in a care facility. I just don’t think he should have to do that twice. I also don’t think he should do it alone (because like me, he is unattached and creative.)
I hate that everyone involved has their best memories as a family, together. And that familytogether no longer exists, and is literally in it’s final throws of existence.
I hate that there is nothing I can do, to stop the process; or turn back the clock.
And worst yet. I hate seeing;experiencing and knowing all this, while still feeling completely incapable of remedy.
I hate my life.
I love my grandma.
My stupid “new age subscription” would tell me to leave, because it doesn’t suit me… but that belief would not be asking my grandma what she wants. And fuck all, she wants me here because she has always adored me. And the feeling is mutual.
Maybe I am just doing what my mother would have done have she not died at 26. Who knows.
I do know I haven’t been able to commit to anyone in my life, but for some reason I have commited to this, and it hurts, and I hate it.
Everyday I am on the brink of crying, and I hold it back. And someday, sometime down the road those flood gates aren’t going to be able to take much more. I fuckin hate that too.
I am not a martyr. In fact, I am the biggest bitch of self I have ever seen… because there is no book to read that can fully equip someone for this. And those that do exist, will break “new age” programs right away.
Remember how we were taught to tell the truth? With people who have dementia, it is encourages to NOT tell the truth about certain things. I suck at this because I lost my censor years ago, and like I said, my grandma has been one of my best friends.
I don’t lie, much less to my best friends. In fact, sometimes I really upset them by telling the truth. This is now a daily occurrence with just pone person.
What the fuck? My child self just can’t believe it. Her mantra, is “this can’t even be real right now.”
I feel like I can’t do anything right. And I don’t think it is me, being too hard on myself. I think it is me being REALISTIC about my flaws and attractions. I understand that I do the best I can, but it is never enough; solely based on the fact that this sadness seems irrational because I have learn to justify past experience. And knowing I could do more, but not having the energy is purely self defeating.
All in all, I have not truly learned to “clear it” and move on. But “clearing” is a new age thing too… and maybe there are some things that we CAN NOT clear; we just have to accept as building blocks to our personalities.
I don’t want to “clear this and move on.” I want to face it, reconcile it; and use it for the betterment of my soul. High hopes for a soul that feels so dark.
I don’t talk about this stuff, because IT SUCKS! No one wants to hear this. I want to share some sort of triumph and add inspiration to the world. This feels fruitless; but you! You creative people may find some inspiration for humanity in reading this. You may feel some spark of recognition in the feeling. If you do, follow it. The world can always use positive inspiration even if it comes from the pain of others. We are all artists, and sometimes those who don’t create enough, need to fill space for those who have lost their inspiration to create.
It’s been like that now for 3 years and today is one of those days.
I made a mistake today. I did something that I had purposefully been avoiding, knowing if I did it, it would make my head spin and send me out of control emotionally. But I went ahead and did it anyway.
I weighed myself.
I didn’t really need to do it. I can look at myself with or without a mirror, and tell with certainty, shit ain’t right. But I did it anyway, as some sort of sick confirmation of my misery.
Over the last 3 years I have lived the most stagnant life I have ever had the privilege of living. I take care of my 87 year old grandmother. And though I love her dearly, my chosen obligation has absolutely derailed my previous life styles.
I spend 90 percent of my time at home within easy reach of my grandmother. And the small luxuries of my previous lives that I have maintained are drinking heady beers, and eating amazing home cooked food.
My weight wouldn’t matter as much if those were not the only two little bliss factors in my life.
I am use to being quite social, active, and involved in mentally and physically engaging activities. I am use to working hard, and playing hard, metabolizing both alcohol and experience.
Instead I have become well versed in Netflix, and drinking alone. Not drinking to get drunk, mind you. Drinking because I love beer.
Today is day 5 of not drinking. My body is going through a disgusting skin detox.
I stood naked before my shower, looking in the mirror, muttering to myself, “I really shouldn’t weigh myself. It is a bad idea.”
I responded by pulling the scale out of the cabinet. Stepping up, looking down. Which led to crying.
I know that concepts of beauty are not entirely tied into how much a person weighs. Beauty is a thing from within, that is sometimes evident without. I do not feel beautiful on either side of the coin. I have been strategically hiding behind costumes in order to play a role of comfort and confidence.
I have seen myself be physically content with my body before, and it is the best feeling EVER! Why? Because it becomes one less thing to worry about on a day to day basis. When I am happy with my physical appearance, I feel more capable of handing other aspects of living. No one likes the girl who is constantly worried about how she looks because she doesn’t have the confidence to radiate.
Facing the truth of how my body has morphed over the last 3 years, happened about a month ago. I stood to a challenge and went to an comedy open mic. I recorded my set. The set wasn’t bad at all, but I couldn’t get over how my once toned arms, radiated white like big wings on a bird. They seem huge.
I use to joke that women need great girl friends that will let them know when they start to get back fat. I haven’t had any girl friends around lately to remind me of my appearance. I mean what do I have to look good for when I am at home with an elderly lady 90% of the time?
The hardest part of all of this, is realizing that how I look and feel is a byproduct of me not being in the right place for me. The situation has muddled my once sharp brain, into a reclusive and miserable person. I don’t like it at all. It is hard to radiate beauty when feeling so despondent and under inspired.
I am facing the fact, that the time is drawing near to leave. I have to go.
I love my grandma with all of my heart, and I want to see her be safe and healthy, but at what cost?
I have cost my own health and well being to be with her in some respite.
People treat me like I am doing some sort of martyrdom in this experience. But I do not feel like a martyr. I feel that I haven’t done as well as I could or should have. And that feeling isn’t getting any better. I wouldn’t be surprised if all this gain has something to do with the massive amounts of cortisol I am undoubtedly producing within my stagnant stress barrier.
I have become so stuck, I am not sure what direction to go to get out of it. I just know I need to move, and shift, and stretch, and run far, far away from the anchor I have bound myself to.
I would love to spend a month with raw foodies, with active, patient lives. I would like to take the time to reprogram my neuroplasticity into a vibe more along where my heart sings.
I feel inclined to run back to other versions of my past, while truly desiring to make something new and redefined for myself. But I don’t know where to go, I don’t know who to ask. And maybe I won’t, until I just get out of the parameter I have found myself choosing to be stuck inside.
I want to feel beauty, and beautiful. I want to radiate more than I ever have before. I want to make something happen, or be apart of what is happening. A feeling that would be in juxtaposition of how the last three years have felt like, waiting.
I am too young to be waiting on death, and that is the place I have been.
I know I can’t wait on health and wellness to find me. And I know I can’t wait for myself to just get over what I am feeling.
It’s the day after my grandfathers memorial service. I had a dozen people at our house in order to commune and share food after the small family gathering and 21 gun salute at the cemetery.
A dozen or so people of blood relation, that I do not REALLY know.
And in a way, it kind of doesn’t matter, because when I look into their faces, I see my self. And I see my history. I see the individuation of myself spread out in a dozen different but similar faces. This seems good enough.
Perhaps if I had time with them each, one on one, I would be asking questions and probing for answers on our connections… but I do not have the time for that… and to some degree maybe it isn’t even that important these days.
I use to wonder more about my family, but they aren’t the type to share, “just any story.” They all have their favorites, their classics, their patchwork of the bigger picture. Though I find it interesting, it’s the missing pieces I find far more interesting. I guess that is when I really start to use my imagination.
The ceremony for my grandfather was short and sweet. Just like him. I think he approves.
Today is a new day, and there are new patterns to be laid. New ways we have to go into each moment… because now, for my grandmother, she doesn’t have him to look forward too, despite the depressive nature of sitting in a nursing home watching a person struggle with Dementia.
Today we can be thankful that even though her legs hurt, at least she can still move them; and even though she can’t see well, at least she can still see… and even though she can’t chew so well, she can still chew enough to eat. And we start to become thankful for what we DO have. And we appreciate what we have lost, but with new eyes.
Life is never going to be “normal.” It can only be a dance of balance. Today is a new day to test the potentials of perception of “normal” and move forward into our own definition.